IDEA Complaint Decision 02-042

On June 13, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXX against the New Berlin School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2001-2002 school year, failed to:

  • include proper statements of annual goals and short-term objectives in the child's individualized education program (IEP);
  • implement procedures for measuring progress toward the annual goals relating to the child's behavior; and
  • regularly report to the parent the extent to which the child's progress toward her annual goals is sufficient to enable her to achieve the goals by the IEP ending date.

The parent alleges that the district did not properly write the two annual behavioral goals and related short-term objective statements in her child's April 10, 2002, IEP. She indicates that these goals and objectives are not measurable. The child's annual goals stated that she will "increase compliance as demonstrated by decreasing manipulation in situations and with people," and "increase social skill interaction between adults and peers as demonstrated by maintaining appropriate conversation, becoming accountable for her actions, and identifying feelings of others and herself." Neither these goals nor the associated short-term objectives establish an amount by which the target behaviors will be increased. Annual goals must clearly describe what a child reasonably can be expected to accomplish in a 12-month period. Because the annual goals were not defined or quantified, the district also did not meet the requirements to report the extent to which progress was sufficient to enable the child to accomplish the goals. The district is directed to submit a corrective action plan within 30 days of the date of this decision that ensures the special education staff understand how to write IEP annual goals and related short-term objectives that are measurable and clearly describe what a child reasonably can be expected to accomplish by the end of the IEP term and that staff regularly report to parents.

The parent contends that the district did not implement procedures for measuring progress toward the annual goals relating to the child's behavioral needs. The April 10th IEP states that "anecdotal records" will be completed on a weekly basis as the procedure used for measuring the child's progress. In a phone interview, the special education teacher indicated that she did not maintain weekly anecdotal records on the child's behavioral goals and objectives from the beginning of the current IEP to the end of the school year. In response to the complaint, the district acknowledged it did not implement the procedures used to measure the child's progress toward their annual goals and developed a record-keeping system for the special education teaching staff, which included a daily observation log used to collect and measure a child's progress on their annual goals and related short-term objectives. The information from the observation log will be used to report a child's progress. The procedures used for measuring the child's progress toward her annual goals were not implemented; however, corrective action was taken in early June.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 9/18/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/svb
For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720